Stephen Prochniak

Obituary of Stephen Prochniak

Stephen Prochniak, 79, of Andover and formerly of Salem, lost his fight for life Tuesday, April 14. He was the husband of Constance (Coulis) Prochniak, with whom he shared many happy years of marriage. Born at home in Salem, Mass., on April 1, 1941, he was the son of the late John and Leona (Ogreni) Prochniak. Growing up with an idyllic childhood in North Salem, he frequently reminisced about playing Little League and pickup baseball in “the pit," now McGlew park. A family favorite tale was of the time he lent his Ted Williams autographed baseball to be used as the game ball in one of the pickup games, never to be retrieved. He was a graduate of Salem High School, class of 1958, having been junior class president, and voted “most witty.” He attended UMass Amherst before leaving to join the family leather tanning business in Peabody, which later became JP Tanning Company in Haverhill. He worked alongside his father and brothers, Dan and Mike. Together, they ran one of the largest producers of black suede. Steve loved the game of golf. First at Haverhill CC, and later at Salem CC, Steve played countless rounds, sporting an admirably low handicap of five in his prime. His strength was putting, where he could regularly sink 20 footers with studied nonchalance. He golfed with his brother, Dan, and his many friends, joining them on the 19th hole to relive the day and enjoy the bonhomie. He was an active member of both clubs, serving on their boards as well as various committees. Steve was a generous and kind-hearted man, who enjoyed traveling with his wife and friends. Memorable adventures took them throughout Europe and South America. He also enjoyed trivia contests, crossword puzzles, and amusing people with great stories peppered with colorful idioms. A handsome man with a great head of hair, he never saw a mirror that he didn’t like. He has lived in Andover for the past 45 years, and has spent the last several years wintering in Naples, FL. Besides his devoted wife, Constance, he is survived by his two daughters, Susan (Ted) Helms of Darien, CT and Darlene (Robert) Bohm of Shelton, CT, his beloved six grandchildren, Teddy, Victoria, and Faith Helms, Zach Bohm, and Stephen Charles and Alex Prochniak, his sisters-in-law Joann Prochniak and Karen Coulis, and also survived by several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his son Stephen J. Prochniak, his daughter, Louise Prochniak and by his two brothers, Daniel and Michael Prochniak. Due to restrictions on gatherings, a private graveside service was held at the family lot at Greenlawn Cemetery in Salem. A celebration of Steve’s life will be announced at a later date. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memorial Giving, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or at stjude.org.
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